Not getting married in the summer of a World Cup Year

‘Well, we can’t marry in the summer on a World Cup year,’ said my girlfriend.

 

I’d never really thought about it until she said it. But I nodded. What could be worse than getting married after another resounding England disappointment?  If I got married when England got taken apart by Germany in 2010, my abiding memory would have been Gareth Barry chasing Mesut Ozil with that look of utter despair in his eyes.  It wasn’t as if it was Gareth Barry’s fault, God clearly short-changed him when he was handing out pace and gave him a double dose of the stuff that makes people enjoy cakes.

 

  In 2006, I would have remembered Jamie Carragher missing a penalty. Jamie Carragher? Yes, the Jamie Carragher brought on specifically to score a penalty in a shoot-out; the Liverpool icon and the rugged centre-half of 463 appearances and a return of 4 goals; and as far as I know no penalties.   I would have had the first dance with a scowl on my face if I got married that day.

 

 In 2002, to be honest I was hardly angry at all; I couldn’t summon up anger and disappointment that early in the morning – the game kicking-off at the crack of dawn.  I did have a theory that the weight of David Seaman’s head complete with pony-tail diminished his ability to jump and make a fairly routine save from Ronaldinho.

 

Which leads me to the U-21’s and European Championships and the England World Cup players of the future and their creditable draw again Spain.  Much had been made of the extortionate transfer fees dished out on young English talent.  Jordan Henderson’s fee in particular probably caused the men in power at Sunderland to throw a wild celebration.  A young player with potential he may be but a £20 million pound player? No way, Jose.   One newspaper article rated the U-21 squad as having a transfer value of £170-odd million; a substitute appearance against Birmingham ensuring that Chelsea’s Ryan Bertrand was given a value of £7million pounds was indicative of the crazy logic.

 

To be fair, it was really set-up for the youngsters to receive the mother of all beatings against a Spanish side that included two World Cup winners. Once again this would be an indication of England’s real position of the standing of their youngsters at the highest level measured against their own expectations.  And actually, they didn’t fall short.  Spain as expected dominated possession with short passes played in tight spaces.  England in contrast were far more direct with Kyle Walker’s strong running impressing, and the two front men running the channels and pulling defenders out of position. In terms of actual goal threat it was an even contest.  Towards the final third of the game Spain really started dominating possession and England probably scored their equalizer at the point where they were beginning to be outplayed. But for the most part their physicality and pace was more than a match for a supremely talented Spain team.  Danny Wellbeck’s well-taken goal was deserved even if it did have a hint of offside about it.  The fact that Ander made such a mess of his header that he ended up punching in Spain’s opener meant they could have little cause for complaint.

 

I was impressed with the England youngsters especially considering some of the men missing: Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and Micah Richards. I mean it’s not enough for me to ever consider getting married in the summer of a World Cup year but it’s something.

James Harvey

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